Grata, the first-of-its-kind online platform for consumers to convey recognition directly to a brand’s frontline employees in real-time, has successfully raised $6 million in seed funding to be targeted towards fueling the company’s next phase of growth. The company has also added industry leaders and powerful innovators to its executive team to launch a culture shifting brand.
Founded by Mark Bunting in 2019, Grata is a unique online recognition platform designed to create a community of frontline workers, consumers, and brands. Through Grata, customers are given the opportunity to recognize a business’ employees for unforgettable experiences in real-time, while employees in the service industry can publicly receive gratitude for their exceptional service. Brands using Grata are able to recognize, reward, and retain the most effective staff that translates into increased customer satisfaction. The free, easy to use app may be found in the Apple App Store and in the Google Play store.
After several “above and beyond” service interactions with employees in local businesses, Bunting contacted their supervisors in an attempt to recognize them for outstanding customer service. After receiving lackluster responses from management, he realized there wasn’t an accessible forum to endorse individual business associates who provided exceptional experiences and was also aware of the loss of available staffing due to employee discontent. Bunting was both aware of the high turnover attributed to employee discontent and knew there was a need to showcase the value of individual customer facing workers that wasn’t just post-it notes or hidden within their current employer’s reviews.
“The idea comes from the inherent importance of frontline employees: those critical customer-facing contributors,” Bunting said. “These employees serving customers are largely responsible for their experience with the brand, yet there was no way to record those moments of individual excellence for both the employees and business until Grata. With recognition as its core mission, Grata provides an easy way to convey and capture praise for extraordinary service, giving the employee the opportunity to stand out with their current employer and enhance their public reputation. Grata provides a connection that fuels job satisfaction, an up-leveled quality of service, increases employee and brand reputation, and drives customer loyalty resulting in increased revenue.”
Through a variety of methods including a QR code scan, SMS message, or NFC link, Grata allows customers to instantly recognize an exceptional service experience by individual employees, while supporting businesses in their efforts to recognize, reward, and retain those with a strong reputation of outstanding service. It also allows companies to identify the types of people and experiences that are most valued.
“We’ve put together a team of passionate leaders who all have an innovative and contribution-focused mindset, as well as the skill sets to bring Grata into every consumer-facing brand interested in elevating both the recognition of their staff members and the experience of their customers,” said Patrick Brandt, CEO. “I immediately chose to be involved in this opportunity as an investor and CEO and am proud of the team we have assembled and the investors that have come on board with us. I look forward to advancing Grata’s mission to foster a community of gratitude and culture of recognized service.”
Investors who have joined to support the success of Grata include Capital Factory, Clutch, Hall Group, and Perot Jain. The new executive team is composed of industry experts and startup veterans Patrick Brandt, Wesley Bryan, Allison Swope, and John Rabara.
As Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Brandt, is a long-tenured founder, CEO, investor, and board member of companies. Most recently serving as the president and co-founder of Shiftsmart, and the Chairman of One Day, Brandt’s leadership in software and internet companies has resulted in a proven track record of leading companies through rapid growth, acquisitions, and successful exits. Brandt was co-founder of Get Shift Done, the nationally recognized and award winning hunger relief initiative during the pandemic.
Wesley Bryan joined Grata as Chief Technology Officer. Bryan’s 22 years of technology leadership includes co-founding OneSource Virtual, which manages payment processing including payroll for more than 1,300 companies worldwide. Most recently, Bryan served as Chief Operating Officer of Sapience Analytics, a data analytics platform. Prior, in addition to being the co-founder of OneSource Virtual, he served stints as Chief Technology Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and President. His broad areas of expertise include product and technology leadership, operations, capital raising, and growth strategy.
Allison Swope serves as Chief Product Officer bringing her deep and successful experience leading high-performing teams and creating experience building products that shifted culture and became integral to a generation’s lifestyle. Swope led teams across product, partnerships and operations at Facebook, Goldman Sachs, and VSCO. She actively advises, coaches, and invests in technology start-ups, including through her role as a partner in Hanover Technology Investment Management.
As Vice President of Customer Success, John Rabara is a passionate leader with over 20 years of experience in customer success. He previously held key executive positions at Synacor, Telligent, acquired by Verint Systems, Oracle, and Skywire Software (acquired by Oracle in 2008) where he helped grow top-line and bottom-line results by focusing on perfecting all aspects of the customer experience.
Bunting continues as founder and executive chairman of the company, bringing experience as a serial entrepreneur and seasoned technology executive to the team. He has worked as a C-Suite executive with Rackspace, Apollo Education, McAfee, SkyTV and owned a chain of restaurants where he observed firsthand the challenges for both employees and employers in the hospitality industry.
“Grata has proven to be an exceptional tool in our business,” said Simon Sorpresi with SLS Miami South Beach. “We’ve been able to collect actionable data on the types of people and experiences that make the biggest impact on our business and more importantly, see our employees receive praise they deserve from our customers through an easy-to-use platform. Grata has positively impacted our bottom line and employee satisfaction in many ways.”
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